Sunday, 26 January 2014

Observing Session Summary - Saturday 25th January 2014

Had a very successful session at Butser Ancient Farm last night between 7-10.30pm. Was a bit windy and cold but very good clear skies.

I used the observers year section for Janaury in ’Philip’s Stargazing With Binoculars’. Here is a list of all the targets I went for and successfully saw - Collinder 65 (Orion), Collinder 70 (Around Orions Belt), M1 (Crab Nebula), M35 (Open Cluster) and M50 (Open Cluster). Here's a link to my session log that includes a little more detail of the observation.

Also, since a few people had their Dobsonian telescopes trained on M82 I had the opportunity to see the new supanova.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Introduction to Astronomy

Attended the HantsAstro Introduction to Astronomy class yesterday evening (13th January). It was a refresher really since I attended the class back in November. There were more people this time. Last time I had the sole attention from the Dave the facilitator.

Class was good second time round. I feel I am getting more familiar with astronomy terminology, certainly where astro-imaging is concerned. However, I need to walk before I can run. Also, I am feeling more confident in where I would like to take astronomy. I am thinking I will go for a dobsonian telescope. More specifically one of the Meade Lightbridge range. Need to start saving those £££.

Friday, 10 January 2014

First Observing Session At Butser Ancient Farm (BAF)

My HantsAstro multi-site pass came just before Christmas and I had the first chance to use it last night (9th January). Gates opened at 8pm and I was there not long after, and stayed until about midnight.

The HantsAstro lot are a really good bunch. Very friendly and helpful and got the chance to do some viewing through some good scopes; an Altair Starwave 70ED and a 10 inch Skywatcher Dobsonsian.

Sky was very clear; the Moon was just over half full, so this did mean some parts of the sky were not available for observing. However, it provided some good opportunity for some lunar observing and to see if my Meade 10x50 bins were any good. Image was very sharp but I did get some reflection inside the bins. However, Dave (HantsAstro founder) informed me that this was refraction in the prism since the Moon was so bright and it wasn't anything to worry about.

I had a go at trying to observe Kemble’s cascade. Not much luck. I think it was due to the Moon’s brightness and the fact that it was quite near the zenith which meant I had to strain and could hold the view for too long. Hey Ho, I'll give it another go at some point.

Trying to keep a log of all my observing so have provided a link below

Lastly, I was surprised how much dew can be a problem. I took a small picnic table to put my stuff on and within a hour my books and other gear were damp. Might need to rethink the table idea.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Visit to Winchester Planetarium

Attended the 'Light Fantastic' show with my brother and sister at the planetarium at the Winchester Science Centre yesterday (Saturday 4th January). The graphics were amazing. Totally recommend a visit. They are doing shows most days throughout the year.

It was raining when we went in, however, when we left we were blessed with a lovely clear sky. We took the scenic route back to Havant which took us through the South Downs national park. We stopped of down a quiet road for some naked eye observing.

Christmas Astronomy Gifts

Here are 2 gifts I got for Christmas that are now proudly mounted on my living room wall. My brother is an excellent artist and drew this picture of Albert Einstein. My sister got me this great print of M42 (the Orion Nebula)